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Entry 8 - Dance Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

Let’s start with a random statement: I don’t like strawberry chocolate cremes.

I mean, I will eat them if forced, I know they won’t kill me and, if they are the right brand and a certain quality, I might even somewhat enjoy them, but I would never ever choose to buy them over other chocolates.

Of course, I wasn’t born knowing this, and I can’t now remember if I didn’t like the first strawberry chocolate I ever tasted. All I know is having eaten many, they are not my favourites.

You may wonder where I’m going with this? Well, let me explain.

One of the most common things I hear when teaching is “I don’t like that new zig zag step in the foxtrot” I’ve heard this sentence, about various different steps, a hundred times over the years and it always makes me smile. You see, one thing I have learnt about being a dance teacher is that there is very strong relationship between “I don’t like” and “I can’t do” and very often we jump to the first when it should almost certainly be the latter.

I can’t think of a chocolate-based analogy befitting of this part of the blog but they say you have to eat a certain number of olives before you can definitively say you don’t like them and that your tastebuds develop to appreciate them over time. This without doubt is the truth behind dance. Once you can dance a step, and dance it well, only then can you truly say that you don’t like a step or dance style. Very few humans like things that they can’t do, yet we get the biggest enjoyment out of things we execute well. The sad reality is that, as there is no shortcut, we often miss out on things we would enjoy because we mistook not liking it for not being able to do it.

So, back to the chocolate, I LOVE Cadbury’s Roses (other brands are available) and yes, they contain strawberry cremes. Does that stop me buying them? No. Does it stop me enjoying them? Absolutely not because I will tolerate the strawberry in the hope of stumbling on a coffee creme which in my opinion are little pieces of heaven wrapped in brown foil. And so, I say to you this, in our beautiful world of Ballroom and Latin we have 10 dances. Will you love them all? Probably not. Should you give them all a chance - absolutely! You will love some immeasurably, enjoy most and tolerate some because the overall experience is totally worth it.

The analogy doesn’t end there either. In the chocolate box we call the dance world, not only are there dance styles to choose from but also performance styles. Are you a spicy competitor? A sweet social dancer? Salty showdancer or a classic medallist? Well, as I’m sure you might have guessed, you will never know until you try, at least once.

Furthermore, and the reason I love this analogy, is that it doesn’t stop just at the students, for us as teachers the variation is just as great. Quite literally every student is a different flavour, with a preferred teaching style, learning speed, humour and likes. This is one of my favourite parts of my job, meeting a selection box of people. It’s a huge delight for me to learn your preferences, although a terrifying thought that it works in reverse. You will undoubtedly not prefer every teaching style you come across, and whilst every teacher in the world hopes to be your favourite, we know that to some people we might just be the strawberry creme - and as saddening as it is, that’s the reality of human nature! We just hope to be the best in the box!

So, the point I’m making, is dance is varied and some things require a few variations before they “taste” right but if you persevere, it truly is one of the most satisfying, morish, and utterly wonderful things in the world. Just like your favourite chocolate. So next time you tell your teacher you don’t like something, remember this blog. Maybe, you’ve just not developed your taste for it yet, and one day it will be your, it has less calories!

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